I, TOO, AM LARGE, CONTAINING MULTITUDES (4/4)

CBDFD6B6-338F-4827-B105-40164A345D57Yes my mistakes, my habits unclean, all my petty hooks,
unrequited desires,
indecent hungers,
narrowness of vision.

My ignorance and vast egoism,
my ungoverned impulses,
flinging me into danger
as much as into joy.

My not knowing,
and my knowing well enough
but still doing wrong
my indebtedness,
my unearned privilege
my greed and uncompromising
dark devils paining the world.

The grief I carry still,
the grief I caused
the inflictions on your heart,
on the water,
on the living soil,
on plants and on the animals—
Oh, I too have waged brutal wars.

But also, to hold these
with the widest wings outstretched.

To ring my bones with flesh
yes good stomach and butt adoring
my athletic thighs,
both resting and pumping
gliding my hands in love
my well-worn knees and feet.

Yes, to my manly feet
my sensitive feet
my dancer’s feet
my wild feet

sauntering past all the gates
tipping my hat to the guardsmen
jumping across boulders

walking beyond approved forms
playing footsie with water
with you under the table
and no one has to know.

To walk the world like a madman
or like a man madly in love

To fling love unwisely
sometimes indelicately,
sometimes deliciously,
to throw it in iridescent loops
in ever-widening circles—

Oh, what a beautiful heart!
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You can get my books RE-MEMBERING: Poems of Earth & Soul, and High-Cooing Through the Seasons: Haiku From the Forest through your local bookstore, on Amazon or Indiebound. My book of mystical poems, Silence Begins Here, and book of love and erotic poetry, Wild Rose Hips, will be out later this year. Follow me @ryanreturntotheearth for ecosensual mythopoetic inspiration and @wildnatureheart  for my heart-centered nature connection & 1-on-1 inner/outer wilderness work.

I, TOO, AM LARGE, CONTAINING MULTITUDES 3/4

B4203AC4-4661-4A54-86AE-BFFB24C24482I drench myself in passions, overreaching and inebriate
alloyed with all the minerals
all the drops of things

Tasting the wild plum,
blackberries boisterous and free
Yes salt and fat, sweet red wine
and water
spicy chiles and bitter wild mustard

I accept on my palate wide like Shasta, my robust tongue
her lips, all lips inside and out
yes her wettest petal
of wild sea and copper

To banish shame
beyond the mountains,
slanted voices of others no more.

My endless curiosity, my vast arousal by—for—with—the world

To greet the aromas with my superior nose:
buckeye husks, hay, cut wood and lavender, cedar and sage
as much as rose and cinnamon
pheremones and falling leaves
garlic and cut grass,
the journey-work of the stars.

To have fallen in love,
to have risen in love
the unlikely comraderies
the felt connections

to befriend the lowliest creatures
as well as those that soar
equal to me the caddisfly larvae
and falcon,
the sand toads and beetles no less
than dolphin
the unexpected grace of egret
sliding over my head—
like him, I am miraculous.

My exquisite ears
swimming in the symphonies
of the world
the songs and strings
and heavy beats
the raven’s croak,
the Lightning crack
the creek, gentle and roaring
as good as my twin.

Your singing and soft cry,
and your exasperated cry—
yours and yours.
Theirs.

-Ryan Van Lenning

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You can get my books RE-MEMBERING: Poems of Earth & Soul, and High-Cooing Through the Seasons: Haiku From the Forest through your local bookstore, on Amazon or Indiebound. My book of mystical poems, Silence Begins Here, and book of love and erotic poetry, Wild Rose Hips, will be out later this year. Follow me @ryanreturntotheearth for ecosensual mythopoetic inspiration and @wildnatureheartfor my heart-centered nature connection & 1-on-1 inner/outer wilderness work.

I, TOO, AM LARGE, CONTAINING MULTITUDES (2/4)

6C54A95D-FAE1-4834-93D1-E17F7F97EB47Best of all to caress
play, pinch, seize,
explore, invite all
the world with these infinite fingers

sensitive, lined and lithe
touching the surface of things
the uncountable textures
the skins, the contours, forms and shapes,
the soft and hardness of the world
the slick and silky, scaled, slimy,
bumpy, coarse, and grainy—I welcome them into me

The sand falling between them
the roughness of redwood,
the silk of madrone
the granular solidity of granite
the thin wisp of alder leaves leaping into fall
the delicate racemes of pink flowering currants in spring

Or the thin cylinder
of her neck
the contour of her waist, the line
from breast to magnificent hips
to her delicate butterflies,
the grand horizon
and my own hard warmth

Yes, I am glad of my paws.

To laugh, belly and eyes
for all the joys
beauty beyond possibility
and yet it is
bringing tears to the surface of my bearded face

But also no less, the griefs
Unthinkable, unbearable, yet borne
yes, the world is cruel and dying—
unimaginably so.

Yet also, the world is being born
in each moment,
and is too kind—
unexpectedly so.
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You can get my books RE-MEMBERING: Poems of Earth & Soul, and High-Cooing Through the Seasons: Haiku From the Forest through your local bookstore, on Amazon or Indiebound. My book of mystical poems, Silence Begins Here, and book of love and erotic poetry, Wild Rose Hips, will be out later this year. Follow me @ryanreturntotheearth for ecosensual mythopoetic inspiration and @wildnatureheartfor my heart-centered nature connection & 1-on-1 inner/outer wilderness work.

I, TOO, AM LARGE, CONTAINING MULTITUDES 1/4

DE4B117B-AA3D-45F5-A427-9E5408A50F41Happy 200th birthday, Walt! 🙏Thank you, comrade, Oh Great Affirmer, for the worlds you up. Thank you, my soul friend, exquisite celebrator, you grand experimenter, you bold ecosensualist!
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To put my western boots on
for the lonely descent
in deepening dark
to know it will be a long while
not knowing when the dawn will break—or if.

But also to know the strength
of my calves and limber heart
libidinous and unrestrained
to spring from these muscles my inviolate motion
sometimes slow, sometimes quick
but sure, steady, alive!
all my incarnate days

While I can, the movement of my savage and beautiful body, unalloyed
in bright unbridled kicks of freedom
my electromagnetic self commingling with my analog
and broken leaf self,
permeable and wanting all the worlds—oh what storms!

To love these shoulders strong
and pulsing, pushing to the edge
of my shadows
stretching then pushing further
turning the wheel in new directions

To make from these soft, brown eyes
all the beauty of the world
(and the ugly truth of it too)

Yes the shimmers, the hues,
patterns and spirals,
the ripples, the great green garments
of summer.
and endless faces, her eyelashes,
wisps of hair that won’t obey,
crooked drifters!

Just as the bones hold it together
In life as much as death
I say yes to new trees
and the burnt and ragged

Her form silhouetted
against the birth
as much as the dying day

Tails, petals, clouds & bubbles,
rosemary dawn
moonlight on silver ferns
falling leaves maroon and gold,
the swooning birds

To embrace with these well-known arms
friends and lovers
a few enemies at times

Yes even the stones, trees, yes,
even my own self.

-Ryan Van Lenning
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You can get my books RE-MEMBERING: Poems of Earth & Soul, and High-Cooing Through the Seasons: Haiku From the Forest through your local bookstore, on Amazon or Indiebound. My book of mystical poems, Silence Begins Here, and book of love and erotic poetry, Wild Rose Hips, will be out later this year. Follow me @ryanreturntotheearth for ecosensual mythopoetic inspiration and @wildnatureheart  for my heart-centered nature connection & 1-on-1 inner/outer wilderness work.

All Manner of River

20197C5F-7096-4B50-9A5F-461E80A5BF5EDedicated to  my buddy Walt.

You bold cedar,
nourished by the river,
the river nourished by you,
fed by and are no less the river.

Your undying roots,
the strength of your limbs
living the athletic purpose of your trunk
saying, “To the sky!”
as much as your lover river says, “To the sea!”

Your needles and the sheen of your needles
you bark and the thickness and hardness of your bark
your manly cones erected skyward
in purpose and pleasure.

Yes, you too enjoy things.

You rocks grey and white, blue-grey
and all manner of red, rose, salmon, crimson
without which you would be incomplete
bringing every bold ray into yourself.

You lichen in manifold delight
gold and orange, all manner of green–
dark green, light green, grey-green, lime green
brown and silver,
and because you long for every hue
you draft yourself the inky absence of color, night black
against your grainy lover rocks.

You wet and soaring river,
your shape, texture, weight,
your undulating curves
and sumptuous taste.

Your prodigious femininity
and smooth fluid shapeliness of your giving in
your belonging to everything
your unbound generosity
your gigantic urge towards your lover sea.

The thousand faces of you:
rippled and roaring,
uncontrolled and uncontrollable,
misted and mysteried,
calm and quiet,
trickled and tranquil.

The flow of you I shall assume
each drop belonging to you
is as good belongs to me.

Widening Us Even As You Dip

seayes, Ralph asked for a national poet
made to order and Walt was at his door
before the ink dried singing a new song—
a song of himself and all the others

Hart, you followed in lilac footsteps as
bard of american affirmation

but couldn’t abide an utter Wasteland
so you launched your circular canticles

against all the eliotic ennui
casting a wide net and even wider

bridge spanning both the past and the future
supporting both the grass and the machine

the bold task of a would-be redeemer
but it could not bear the weight of darkness

laughing twice as hard, drinking twice as much
despite some song of your soul declaring:

Imagination is beyond despair

you threw yourself on the bent foam and wave
a voyage that would never find its end

sailing out of port into cold waters
you broke your tower on sea skies azure

yet widening us even as you dip
your spindrift gaze spins us toward paradise